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If you find yourself low on time and energy, then may we suggest picking up one of the best air fryers recommended by experts? This handy kitchen appliance, which can easily be stored in a kitchen cabinet or on your countertop, can make cooking a breeze. You can cut your meal prepping time by not having to heat up the stove or oven whenever you want to cook—instead, with just a touch of a few buttons (sometimes on your smartphone), you can have a meal made in record time. We tapped a few experts to help guide us along the way and suggest their top air fryer picks, as well as what we should be on the lookout for when choosing one.
Benefits of Air Fryers
What makes air fryers so great is that they come with a whole list of benefits. For starters, they help reduce cooking times—delicious foods, such as potatoes, chicken wings, and burgers can be made in under ten minutes. You can prepare air fryer recipes that are healthy and just as crispy and delicious but with less oil. Note that when we mention healthy food at SELF, we refer to foods that are nutritious, filling, and satisfying—we know “healthy” is a loaded word that can mean different things to different people. “Air fryers can be an efficient tool for creating delicious and healthy meals in less time without compromising your health,” says Laura Gilstrap RD, LD/N, owner of LG Nutrition LLC. “Compared to deep-frying, air fryers can still achieve the beloved ‘fried’ texture and taste but without the excess oil, resulting in less saturated fat and calories.”
How Does an Air Fryer Work?
Most air fryers work like your regular kitchen oven. “Air fryers simulate deep frying by circulating hot air at a high speed,” Danielle McAvoy, MSPH, RD, and Registered Dietitian with Strong Home Gym. “The hot air creates a crispy crust and a perfectly cooked inside, which are the same qualities you get from frying in oil.”
Because of this, a whole array of foods can be made quickly, compared to deep frying. “An air fryer can add an easy-to-achieve crispy texture that can add some excitement to your vegetable consumption,” adds Serena Poon, celebrity chef, certified nutritionist, and founder of Just Add Water and Culinary Alchemy. “Air fried veggies are also a great substitution for potato chips or french fries. As long as you’re using a health-supportive oil, such as avocado oil, they supply the same great crunch and crisp, along with some of the vitamins and nutrients found in fresh veggies.” Poon does point out, however, that some vegetables that are high in water-soluble vitamins do lose some nutritional value no matter how they are cooked.
In the end, it’ll come down to how you prepare the meal and not the appliance itself, but there are definitely a lot of fun, easy recipes to try—just take a look at our roundup of beef dinner recipes and chicken breast recipes to start. From smart technology options that come with a wide array of accessories to others with dishwasher-safe components, here are 20 of the best air fryers recommended by experts, found at Amazon, Target, Williams Sonoma, and more.